T Nation

One Arm DB Bench Presses

Hey guys, Just quick intro.

I’m a long time reader who doesn’t post very much.

Goals: GET BIGGER and STRONGER

Anyway, lately I’ve decided to go back to a basic 5x5 split since I’ve been losing my motivation and thought I could probably do with simplifying things a bit.

It feels good, I’m looking forward to getting in the gym again.

I’ve got a concern though, for my horizontal pushing exercise I’m currently doing one arm DB bench presses and seeing as its a 5RM its pretty heavy.

I’m worried if this is going to put a lot of torque on my spine and cause problems, so far so good but its a worry thats making me hold back a bit.

I know Dan John has recommended them but I can’t find the article he mentioned it in. I prefer doing them one arm as they’re a lot easier to set up without a spotter although after a quick search I haven’t found anything to put my mind at ease.

Any thoughts on the matter?

I can’t speak to “torque on your spine”, but I will say that getting two DB’s into position for benching is actually very, very easy (once you get over the initial unease of rolling back onto the bench). DB benching is pretty much a “spotter free” exercise, unless you are looking to crank out some forced reps at the very end.

You might also find it gives your chest a better workout, as you are able to focus more on the target muscle without worrying about flipping over the side (which is why I gave it up).

I do em. I wouldn’t worry about your spine, I’d say the injury potential is very low. I’d worry more about your shoulders than your spine, if you aren’t balancing the horizontal pushing with pulling and vertical pushing movements.

Here is the Dan John article

http://www.T-Nation.com/article/performance_training/the_one_dumbbell_workout&cr=

and if you are worried about hoisting the weight up alone get your self a pair of power hooks

I think this sounds damn stupid.

i just deadlift the db’s onto the bench, then roll back. no spotter.

can do the 120’s 3x8.

and i’m no supercrazy freak guy.

just trying to point out that it would be very easy/possiable to do heavy db bench with both hands.

It will make your core strong dude so you have hawt abdz! Yo bra, get off da roidz dat sh!t will mess you up!lol
Seriously, I wouldnt worry about spinal torque, if your obliques are strong enough that your torso doesnt twist then you should be fine. I also agree that doing 2 DB pressing is easier than 1 but thats just because it doesnt have as much “core” involvement.
Edit: Make sure you are doing the same weight with either hand.

From the article: [quote]Simply do this: train with two dumbbells, but of different weights.[/quote]

Does anyone actually do this? I remember one time my [former] workout partner added too much weight to one side of the barbell before I benched…not a very good time, at all. I can’t imagine doing it with dumbbells, where it would be even harder to get into a rep rhythm.

Seems like a lame attempt at innovation, to me, but maybe someone can say something good about it…?

[quote]anonym wrote:
From the article: Simply do this: train with two dumbbells, but of different weights.

Does anyone actually do this? I remember one time my [former] workout partner added too much weight to one side of the barbell before I benched…not a very good time, at all. I can’t imagine doing it with dumbbells, where it would be even harder to get into a rep rhythm.

Seems like a lame attempt at innovation, to me, but maybe someone can say something good about it…?[/quote]

someone with a SEVERELY disproportionate strength imbalance MIGHT be able to use this…otherwise…idk? doesnt seem right to me…

[quote]Think tank fish wrote:
Hey guys, Just quick intro.

I’m a long time reader who doesn’t post very much.

Goals: GET BIGGER and STRONGER

Anyway, lately I’ve decided to go back to a basic 5x5 split since I’ve been losing my motivation and thought I could probably do with simplifying things a bit.

It feels good, I’m looking forward to getting in the gym again.

I’ve got a concern though, for my horizontal pushing exercise I’m currently doing one arm DB bench presses and seeing as its a 5RM its pretty heavy.

I’m worried if this is going to put a lot of torque on my spine and cause problems, so far so good but its a worry thats making me hold back a bit.

I know Dan John has recommended them but I can’t find the article he mentioned it in. I prefer doing them one arm as they’re a lot easier to set up without a spotter although after a quick search I haven’t found anything to put my mind at ease.

Any thoughts on the matter?[/quote]

Hey dude,

Yeah man it’s definitely doable, a lot of guys do it for various reasons, one being leveling out any assymetry between the two pecs. I’ve done it and am about to start doing it again due to a delt injury on one side.

It works fine. Does it take some getting used to with regards to balance and support with core??
Yeah of course, it’s like anything else. Just start with lighter weight, get the groove down and adjust weight accordingly after a few workouts.

At first it seems hard to keep from actually dipping to one side, but honestly your body will adjust itself. Having a spotter or buddy at first will help if it seems to awkward at first. Like I said though just pick up a moderate weight, and you’re off and running from there.

It’s like doing one arm rows, curls, tri extensions etc.
It is very effective for hitting lagging sides of the chest in my opinion as I’ve done just that in the past.

                 good luck,

                  ToneBone

[quote]Liquid447 wrote:
i just deadlift the db’s onto the bench, then roll back. no spotter.

can do the 120’s 3x8.

and i’m no supercrazy freak guy.

just trying to point out that it would be very easy/possiable to do heavy db bench with both hands.[/quote]

Dude, I envy you. I do 55s in each hand for 3x10… we don’t even have dumbells in my school’s gym past like 90.
Hopefully, I might be able to do those by the end of Senior year? I don’t know, I’ve been training for like 5 months, 2 of which I spent doing retarded, pointless shit that just unbalanced my muscles.

Is going from a 50lb dumbell in each hand to a 90lb dumbell in each hand possible in like 2 years? I’m a Sophomore now.

I don’t even know what my barbell bench is anymore. I stopped doing that after the friends that I worked out with all quit and the dumbass that was spotting me on decline let the bar drop on my mouth.
I think I stopped at like 130. I wonder if it’s higher now after a few months of dumbell benching.

i’ve hit the 80s for 5 before, bu i plan on really ramping it up.

quick question, how do you ge tyour shoulder blades together before you roll back? every time i roll back for the first time my back makes this crunch sound and then press the dbs up, the back down and i can get my upper back set after that, but never right away

Thanks for the help guys, its much appreciated.

You’ve put my mind at ease, I always balance it out with pulling exercises (which I actually prefer).

I have to say I do like doing them one-arm at a time. It feels like I can push myself harder. Probably because I know the other arm can step in if needed.

It adds a bit of variety if nothing else. As for rolling back into the press, I used to do that although it’s a pain trying to get into a good pressing position.

Thanks Again.

[quote]Think tank fish wrote:
Thanks for the help guys, its much appreciated.

You’ve put my mind at ease, I always balance it out with pulling exercises (which I actually prefer).

I have to say I do like doing them one-arm at a time. It feels like I can push myself harder. Probably because I know the other arm can step in if needed.

It adds a bit of variety if nothing else. As for rolling back into the press, I used to do that although it’s a pain trying to get into a good pressing position.

Thanks Again.[/quote]

Well working one arm at a time, your actually able to produce more force, so thats one of the main reasons for the lift. Also, it will work your core and stabalizers. With lighter weights the spinal torque isnt as much of a problem, but with heavier weights, you may want to hold a lighter db in the opposite hand, and just keep it in the bottom position to help balance you out. Ive never tried this but it sounds like a good idea.

Lastly, db’s are not great for maximal weights, but you can still produce maximal force. Ive know ive been posting this a lot today, but if you can do 5 reps with 100lbs and 8 reps with 80lbs, you should be able to produce the same force with 80lbs as long as your trying to accelerate the weight up as much as possible. I believe this would be much safer, especially for db work. Just learn how to tell when the weight is too light, and your having to hold back from maximal acceleration.